Ahead of Budget 2016 on 16 March, the Resolution Foundation urges government to help more over 50s into work and rethink its old-fashioned approach to unemployment

Hayley Kirton
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Are too many over 50s being pushed out of the workforce prematurely? (Source: Getty)

A think tank has offered a word of advice to chancellor George Osborne this morning ahead of the budget: if this government wants to achieve full employment, it must focus on helping over 50s get into work.

Ahead of publishing a full report on employment next week, the Resolution Foundation urged government to put helping over 50s stay employed front and centre in their plans and argued that the traditional focus on unemployment is no longer fit for purpose.

The Foundation contends that particular attention should be paid to making sure that older workers are not forced to leave the workforce prematurely.

Commenting on the think tank's findings, Laura Gardiner, senior policy analyst at the Resolution Foundation, remarked that, while the levels of rising employment among older age groups in the UK was something worth celebrating, she added:

But we can do far more to boost employment among older workers, in particular by helping them to stay in work when they take on caring responsibilities or have to adjust to ill-health. Many employers already see the benefits of holding on to these experienced members of staff but this attitude needs to spread throughout the labour market. Government policy interventions, such as an extension of rights to return to work, can help foster this change in attitudes towards older workers.

Providing such support could help over a million older workers into jobs, and set the government on course to meet its ambitious full employment target.

The think tank believes that there is potential to increase employment among those aged 50-64 by roughly 920,000 over the course of this parliament, and to raise employment among those aged 65-69 by 240,000.

In his Summer Budget 2015 speech, Osborne pledged to achieve full employment in Britain and wanted to create another 2m jobs by 2020. Government is now also required to report regularly on how it is progressing with this goal.

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